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July 16, 2012 / windlessly

Taiwan Travels: Day 16

Hursuong is pretty awesome. And so are Kevin, Ryan, Emily, and Jocelyn. I never want to leave this place, and I need to work on drawing smiley faces.

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^That too, but JUST to let everyone know, the current Literature score between the guys and girls here at Jiufen is 2-1. Wooot yeah we take it pretty seriously =P But it’s just the idea of a “rivalry” that makes it fun, in my opinion. We all have fun together, and I don’t think I’ve found a better group to play it with- it’s funny that the game is made specifically for six people!

Anyways, today should be one of my “lighter” days of blogging- it’s back to Monday, our first day back to teaching, so there’s not that many new pictures to upload. In fact, I don’t think there are any. I had trouble staying fulling alert for the first half hour of teaching today, and the first half hour after lunch/naptime. We got a new student named Lisa today, and she was really eager to learn, which I appreciated so much! Nothing else exciting happened- me flapping my arms around a lot, raising my voice to try to encourage students to repeat after me, and trying to strum on the guitar while doing hand motions at the same time (it doesn’t work that well, trust me). I’m honestly a little bit surprised at how indecisive 1st and 2nd graders can be… one moment they LOVE singing songs the next they seem to have given up on repeating lyrics.

So not the most exciting day, though each day really is an adventure here. We’ve gotten over our initial fear of wildlife here in the school, and now most creepy crawly flying things don’t faze us that much. I’ve learned that if you’re gonna be outside in the sun in Taiwan for more than an hour, you should put on sunscreen lotion or you WILL get burned. The hardwood floor didn’t treat my burned back/shoulders very nicely last night while I slept. And I had the lightest out of the three guys- Ryan got destroyed on his upper torso and now we all cringe when someone pats us on the back.

And just to say, the ratio of our lunch was TERRIBLE today. It’s an ongoing discussion/observation that Ryan and I share- basically, we bond together because of all the things we have in common. Whenever we eat food, we always keep in mind the ratios of the different parts, if there are any. Most obvious example: bubble tea. I go out of my way to make sure I am not left with extra boba/pearls at the end. But the same concept applies with everything… when you eat chips and salsa, aren’t you annoyed when you run out of one first? Or oreos and milk, ice cream and the cone, tofu pudding and the sweet sugar water, or a number of other things that I can’t think of right now. For our packaged lunch today (our staple food here, think of it as a Chinese version of Lunchables), the rice to chicken ratio was wayy off.

What I most wanted to blog about today was the only exciting thing that happened: bringing mafia to our Jiufen group! I’m not very good at being succinct, so I expect today’s post will be a lot of text and not a lot of pictures. Regardless, we got everyone together to play mafia today, including our two soldier guards and two new teacher aids (Lester’s sisters!) that together will replace Flora here (who’s off having a good time in Japan xD). We played two rounds, the second of which we sort of used the rules that the Taiwanese guys were used to: namely, you did NOT reveal who you were when you died. Instead of flipping your card, you’re allowed to make one final statement, which gets super intense because even in death you don’t know whether people will believe you or not.

Actually, I think the whole game of mafia is really intense. After today, I’m having second thoughts about the merits of the game- obviously your experience will change with who you play with, but the dynamics will still be very complex between people. For example, I was chosen to be mafia in our second round today. Out of nine people, two were mafia and I only made it to the final three before I was discovered, which meant I had to do a significant amount of acting/lying. The problem was, I was playing with all my friends so I felt awful about lying! I really do… it’s not even about doing it for the game anymore- I realized it only afterwards that how you act during the game reveals a lot about your character.

Ryan and I chatted earlier about this very topic- how you present yourself to people and the different layers you choose to show at any given time. And in mafia, you are putting on this persona, but you have to be comfortable enough with it in order to last the whole round and not arouse suspicion. After all, do you want to be the accusing commanding type? Silent and timid? Loud and derpy? Me, I know I’m a crowd pleaser and I’m usually okay at getting people to like me (or at least not kill me). So in our game, I was talkative but I didn’t ever blame people directly. I was only successful to a certain extent before people caught on to my “dust-stirring.” But even so, was it worth it? Sure, I felt some satisfaction of advancing through the rounds, but I couldn’t push away the genuine concern I had about purposefully lying to people. It felt… manipulative in a way. Hursuong, for example, is completely good-natured and has trouble doing that. In the end I just felt guilty for earning people’s trust, only to bash it in the end for the sake of a game.

I think I’ll just have to be careful who I play mafia with in the future… the game can have lasting consequences. No one likes being lied to, after all. Especially from your friends. I still remember a friend from math team several years ago that I was just getting to know. We played on the bus and they completely duped me into thinking they were my closest ally/confident, when in reality they were mafia. So what am I trying to say? I’m honestly not sure… maybe just that there is a LOT of strategy and layers to the game, but you should never become so immersed in it that you jeopardize any relationships with other people. Granted, it’s a fun game and I like disguising myself, but I would never want to risk actually hurting other people’s feelings. And this is why I’d never make a good assassin- I can be calculating and disciplined, but I always have my trippy conscience to deal with.

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The text to picture ratio is WAY off in this post. Just saying.

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